Dani Pedrosa will start his first MotoGP race since shoulder surgery from the outside of the front row, in third, after a close qualifying session at Jerez on Saturday.
Pole went to Yamaha's world champion and 2011 title leader Jorge Lorenzo, with Gresini Honda's Marco Simoncelli second and Pedrosa just 0.163sec from pole in third.
"I'm very satisfied with this front row today,” said Pedrosa, who starts round three holding second in the points. “It was a very close session as it always is in this circuit and our main target this afternoon was to be on the front row, so I'm happy about this.
“For tomorrow, we will try to set up our bike a bit better for the race distance. I know that physically it will be tough for me because after the recent surgery my shoulder has improved a little but it is still very stiff and the muscles hurt.
“Anyway, I hope to be able to stay with Lorenzo because for sure he will be consistent and that will be one of the key points in the race. The weather is nothing that we can change, so we will need to also be ready to do our best in any condition.”
Pedrosa's front row came at the expense of Repsol Honda team-mate Casey Stoner, who qualified 0.223sec from pole.
"Today hasn't really been that great for us either, this morning's session was pretty much a waste of time we were just working on our wet setting that we weren't really happy with in Jerez. We improved that situation a little and we can hopefully expect a better feeling next time in wet conditions,” said Stoner, winner of round one but a non-finisher at Jerez after being caught up in Valentino Rossi's accident.
“This afternoon we continued on from yesterday, trying to find a better balance under braking and mid-turn corner speed but it wasn't until towards the middle, end of session that we started to make some improvements with the bike. Every time I went out the balance didn't feel correct so we tried to go in another direction, finally we found the right route and we improved a little bit more each run after that, but unfortunately I wasn't able to use the qualifying tyre like I wanted to.
“When I went out there with the only new tyre that we had for the session, I made a few mistakes in the early laps so didn't really use the best of the tyre. I think the race potential is there now and hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow.”
After struggling on Friday, Andrea Dovizioso made it three Repsol Hondas in the top six.
“It was important to start from a good position so I'm happy to start from the second row tomorrow,” said the Italian. “We worked on the setting and stability in the front improved so I could push more this afternoon, compared with yesterday. I rode quite consistently but I wasn't able to gain some more tenths and lap under 1'38”.
“We have two points we would like to work on tomorrow so I hope that the track conditions are fine during the warm up. Today's result gives us more confidence for the race after a difficult session yesterday".